Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Adventures in (table) Space - Developing the Space 1889 solo campaign

So a while back, I posted how I was going to wedge Kas'trum into the existing Space 1889 map of Mars. With work quieting down, I have had some more time to develop my thoughts.

Now according to the Soldier's Companion, a unit on foot in good terrain can make one hex or about 10 miles per day. According to canon, from Crocea to the swamps of Gorklimsk is about 200 miles which is far enough to make things interesting for the Imperial side.  However this raised the question of where exactly any given encounter will take place in that hex.

To address this, the first question is how much area does my 4x6ish table represent ? After poking around with some complicated math, I re-read SoC which said that 1 foot on table is one Sky Galleons of Mars hex and Sky Galleons is compatible with Ironclads and Ether Flyers, and I&E says that 1 hex = 1 cable or just over 200 yards. so a 4x6 table is 800x1200 yards or .45 x .68 miles so breaking down the 10 mile campaign hex into 1 mile sub-hexes means I can fit 2 tables per mile with lots of wiggle space.  So now I have an idea of what level of detail I need to provide before setting up each battle.

As a side effect, I got to thinking about scale. I may have missed it but SoC doesn't say much about ground scale. With the information above we can nail it down. 1 foot = 200 yards so the ground scale is 1:600! Our 25 mm figures are comparatively massive. Or are they? The Soldier's companion makes two things clear: the figure scale is 1:10 and infantry should be based on 3/4" washers (or equivalent). How well does this tie in with ground scale? Three quarters of an inch is 37.5 feet on the table. Divide that by 10 to get space per man and we get 3.75 feet, or just about spot on for arms length dressing. In open order that's 7.5 feet per man - again not too bad for open order. These two figures are a reasonable compromise between Napoleonic and modern practice.

However, it breaks down a bit when we start looking at artillery. Your bog standard BL 12 pounder has a range of 6 feet in game which translates into 1200 yards; much less than the actual maximum range of  5,000 yards. That seems to be a large discrepancy but  makes sense in light of direct fire artillery practices of the time and supports the common gamers' desire to get toys on the table.  Besides, who has space for a 25 foot table?  The Lee-Metford range of 32"is fairly close to ground scale (1600 yards vs 1800 yards actual). This means the guns are a little more vulnerable than they should be, but not by much.  If a wonky ground scale good is enough for Flames of War it's good enough for Soldier's Companion.

So what does all this mean? Despite initial appearances, the ground scale has been well thought out and is accurate but artillery ranges have necessarily been truncated. Some method must be created to figure out where in a 10 mile campaign hex a given encounter occurs but raises the possibility of flanking movements or actions within a hex and large multi-table battles.  

I assure you that I find all this math very interesting and not the least bit boring as I expect some of my readers might.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Painting Challenge

Maybe I am crazy but I have just put in for the Sixth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

At a very modest 500 points, that will take care of all my recent 1889 purchases, force me to finish up my Home Guard / FJ and maybe even get me painting my 20mm WWII.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reinforcements for the forces of Kas'trum

Thanks to the current Federal Election in Canada (If you are Canadian, please go vote) and the resulting overtime, I have been able to make a sizable upgrade to the forces of Kas'trum.

The 2/3 Dragoons will get an upgrade to a full squadron of lance and musket armed gashant heavy cavalry. Num'da's Raiders will also be increased to a full squadron of gasahant light cavalry. The Kas'trum scouts will get a bow armed platoon bringing them to company strength (and allowing them to double as  Boer style mounted infantry / dragoon dismounts in conjunction with the Raiders). The Pier Worm Roaster's Guild has also been on a recruiting drive bringing them up to company strength  -or- perhaps a rival merchant group has also taken up the worm hunting challenge? 

On the artillery side, two pairs of Greek fire projectors will serve as sweepers and a brace of 1841 pattern light howitzers has been acquired along with  the requisite Trucial and Martian crews. These crews will allow artillery on both sides.

Those keeping track will note that the Earthers are seriously outnumbered in all areas, this is by design. To simply get within charge range of magazine rifle armed troops requires an awful lot of open order troops to screen the heavies. The Martian cavalry should encourage the Empire player to pay attention to the flanks (though there is a small unit of Sikh Lancers in the queue).  The artillery will encourage the Earthers to move up and engage rather than be shelled to pieces as well as giving the Empire something to break up any fortified rebel Martian towns. I will also have enough troops for Martian on Martian battles with Earth forces playing only a supporting role - if any role at all. 

With this purchase, my Space 1889 project, at least on the figure side, is as complete as it is likely to be. Any more figures and my table is likely to 1) Look like a FoW armoured battle with wall to wall figures and B) collapse under the weight of lead.

And a picture:


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Mighty PzKpfw Neubaufahrzeug V and VI for CoC!

Note: This is a re-post from the Lardie's Forum. I haven't posted here in awhile so I thought I would leverage it I mean share with you. ;)

A large portion of British Home Guard training was focussed on improvised anti-armour tactics. So naturally I needed to pick up some armour for the invading Jerries. To be accurate, this should be a Panzer II, III or IV or perhaps a 38-T or Stug III A at best. But ... none of those really fit into the British propaganda of the period which had fire spitting iron behemoths stomping their way through bucolic English villages (only to be cut down by the local green grocer and postman of course). I wanted something more epic, more menacing.

As it happens Die Waffenkammer does a rather nice resin kit of the Neubaufahrzeug and in Canadian terms at least they are "just up the road" from me so I ordered one (you can too at:  All their stuff is lovely.

This vehicle was designed in the 30s and came in two versions the Rheinmetall designed PzKpfw NbFz V and the Krupp built PzKpfw NbFz VI. The only differences between them was that the two Rheinmetall vehicles had a 75mm L24 and 37mm L45 in the turret in an over under configuration and were made of mild steel, while the three Krupp vehicles had the same armament in a side by side configuration and were made from proper armour plate. Like many designs of the period they had two sub-turrets one each fore and aft. These were modified Panzer I turrets with only 1 MG each. Top speed was 30 Km/h and armour was no thicker than 20mm.  A planned, but never built, variant of the Krupp turret was to have a 105mm low velocity gun for throwing smoke.

The Krupp machines saw propaganda service in Norway, masquerading as heavy tanks. In actual action against the British also in Norway, one was lost when it became bogged down. A Rheinmetall machine was sent to replace it.  As the war progressed after the invasion of Norway, they disappeared into the scrapheap though at least once source says they were used in Russia.

But what does this mean in CoC terms?

Using the latest coculator, and I am very open to corrections, gives:

Rheinmetall PzKpfw NbFz V / Krupp PzKpfw NbFz VI. 
Historical 75mm & 37mm and projected with 105mm & 37mm

Armour: 3 Krupp, 1 Rheinmetall

HE: 6 (10 for projected Krupp 105mm)
AP: 5
Turreted hull and Coax MG
Extra turreted hull  MG

Support list: 4 (75mm) or 5 (105mm)
Special rules: Only one of two the turret guns or the co-ax mg can be fired using one command initiative. The sub-turrets count as hull mounted MGs. One can fire per command initiative, with the option to also fire by using a separate command dice of 1.  105mm equipped vehicles can fire smoke direct.

Panzer fans will notice that apart from the extra MG turret (and the 105mm variant), these stats are pretty much the same as those for an early model Panzer IV. I suspect this explains why they never went into serious production.

Now since these served as propaganda machines, below is my take on what Herr Goebbels would have liked the allies to think they were:

Neubaufahrzeug Propaganda Panzer - Heavy Tank
Armour: 6
HE: 10
AP: 5
Regular speed
The rest as above
Support list: 6

While the Neubaufahrzeug doesn't add much to the game in pure stats terms, imagine the look on your opponent's face when you say you have bought an entirely historical Panzer VI support for a 1940 battle. ;)

German Armoured Rarities 1935-1945 - Michael Sowodny.